UH president draws a full house in new contract

I’m always troubled when public officials act entitled to place their personal interests ahead of those of the public they serve, and that’s the feeling I get about University of Hawai’i President M.R.C. Greenwood continuing to receive $5,000 a month to live in housing other than the College Hill mansion provided by the university.

When Greenwood was hired in 2009 at more than $400,000 a year, making her one of the highest-paid state employees, she was given the housing allowance because College Hill was undergoing major renovations.

It was presented at the time as a temporary arrangement until the work was finished, but when that time came, Greenwood still preferred to live elsewhere and said she expected the $5,000 allowance to continue.

The Board of Regents locked in the payment last week when it voted to extend Greenwood’s contract for three years until 2015 with little opportunity for comment by the public or university community.

If Greenwood doesn’t want to live at the perfectly good mansion provided her, that’s her business, but she should pay for other accommodations herself.

It’s unreasonable to expect UH to foot the bill for alternate housing; $5,000 is an awful lot of housing even by Hawai‘i standards, and such extravagance is ill-timed when the university is struggling to make ends meet, its flagship campus is in disrepair and many students can’t get the classes they need.

UH says College Hill is needed for fundraising events, but that’s just an excuse to justify what Greenwood wants to do. Such events were always held at the mansion when the president lived there; the place comes with a full staff, and it’s not as if she has to wash the dishes herself afterward.

When university officials arrive at the Legislature pleading poverty and asking for more funding at the expense of other needy state programs, lawmakers should ask questions about the need to house the president in double luxury.

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4 Comments on “UH president draws a full house in new contract”

  1. Guido Sarducci Says:

    Are you surprised?
    This is exactly what MRC did at UC.
    The fact that she was forced to resign on the tip of an $871M UC executive/faculty bonuses scandal was ignored by Hawaii media because MRC was Inouye’s pick. He wanted someone who could tamp down activist opposition to UARC, telescopes, and GM research–and MRC has done this.

  2. Michael Says:

    UH President Greenwood Breaks Tradition:

    More like a 52 card pickup.

  3. ppcc Says:

    This should be no surprise to anyone when ex HGEA union boss Russell Okata chaired the UH presidential search committee, who should have provided a LIST of potential candidates for the UH BOR to choose a president. Instead Okata’s committee provided to the BOR a list of ONE, Greenwood, which the BOR accepted.

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